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On July 17, Lambert’s dream came true as he stood in front of a packed house (which included View host Whoopi Goldberg), stepping in for the late Freddie Mercury on a summer night that Queen guitarist Brian May said was filled with “magic.”
Standing behind a curtain and shrouded in a dark silhouette, Lambert seemed to take a moment to gather himself before unleashing his masterful vocal acrobatics on the opening number, “Now I’m Here.”
It was a dramatic moment — the realization of a boyhood fantasy come true.
When May asked the crowd how they liked “the new guy,” Lambert was greeted with cheers, to which he humbly responded, “Thanks, guys.”
Powering through “Stone Cold Crazy” and “Another One Bites the Dust,” Lambert was a vision in studded leather and sunglasses before changing over into a fabulous fringe number to vamp it up on a purple couch, fanning himself for “Killer Queen,” taking a swig of champagne and spitting it out toward the front row.
“Did I get you wet?” he asked, cheekily. “You’re supposed to say thank you!”
His acting skills, showcased during his run on Fox’s Glee, really came into play during this number, and one can’t help but wonder if perhaps the American Idol alum may want to stretch those muscles in New York for a turn in a Broadway show.
But it wasn’t all camp and costume changes. Lambert produced goose-bump-inducing chills as he led the Garden in the church of glam with the powerful “Somebody to Love.” He traded vocals with drummer Roger Taylor (handling the David Bowie verses) for the band’s hit “Under Pressure” with muscularity and confidence. And Lambert was reverential of Mercury, sharing the stage with the icon via video screen on “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
There were several stretches in the show that did not feature Lambert, including a poignant moment when May journeyed to a ministage at the end of the ramp for an acoustic “Love of My Life,” joined by Mercury on the oval video screen to finish the song.
“Thank you for giving us the chance to come here and be rock gods again,” said an emotional May, as he shed a tear.
The Queen + Adam Lambert tour continues throughout the summer, with a stop at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on July 26.
Watch “Killer Queen” below and check out a gallery of photos from the Madison Square Garden show.
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